In 1926 a group of exiled Russian anarchists in France, the Dielo Trouda (Workers' Cause) group, published this pamphlet (also known as the 'Organisational Platform of the Libertarian Communists') on organisation based on their experiences in the 1917 Russian revolution.
It arose not from some academic study but from their concrete experiences in the revolution. They had taken part in the overthrow of the old ruling class, had been part of the blossoming of workers' and peasants' self- management, had shared the widespread optimism about a new world of socialism and freedom... and had seen its bloody replacement by State Capitalism and the Bolshevik Party dictatorship.
Organisational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Draft)
Group of Russian Anarchists Abroad - ("Delo Truda" (Workers' Cause) Group)
1. Class struggle, its role and its value
2. The necessity of a violent social revolution
3. Anarchism and Anarchist Communism
4. The negation of democracy
5. The negation of the state and authority
6. The masses and the anarchists: the role of each in the social struggle and the social revolution
7. The transition period
8. Anarchism and Syndicalism
3. The Land
4. Defence of the revolution
1. Unity of theory
2. Unity of tactics or the collective method of action
3. Collective Responsibility
2006 Translator's introduction
Eighty years have passed since the publication in the pages of the Russian anarchist monthly Delo Truda of the Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Draft), but the question of anarchist organization remains an open one even today, a question which sparks off ferocious debates with frightening ease.
Yet in reality it is a question which has long been solved: either we accept the need for anarchists to come together in their own specific organizations so as to allow greater unity and strength with which to face the struggles; or we don't accept it, and are happy to remain part of the world of "chaotic" anarchism which rejects such a need for one reason or another, considering it pointless or dangerous, or which accepts it, but choose anarchist unity in name, where the various hues of anarchism come together under an umbrella organization without any serious political unity or strategies.
The Organizational Platform (often known in English-speaking circles as the "Organizational Platform of the Libertarian Communists") was the first attempt since the days of Bakunin to formulate a theoretical and practical platform of the positions and tasks of anarchists, which could provide anarchism with the necessary political and organizational unity to increase the influence of anarchist ideas within society in general and the workers' movements in particular, after the defeat of anarchism in the Russian Revolution made the grave faults of (what had by then become) "traditional" anarchism all too evident. The Platform not only deals with organizational questions. It tackles a whole range of problems: it clearly sets out the class nature of anarchism; it defines the role of anarchists in the pre-revolutionary and revolutionary periods; it establishes the role of syndicalism as an instrument of struggle; it sets out the basic tenets of anarchist theory such as anti-capitalism, the rejection of bourgeois democracy, the State and authority, and more.
For all these reasons, the Organizational Platform, though not exhaustive in its treatment of various questions, and requiring further development in some areas, is a document of great value, not only historical but also practical. It merits the serious consideration of all those who fight, or who want to fight, for a new world, a new society, a new humanity.
Previous English translations of the Platform have suffered from the fact that they were translated, not directly from the Russian, but via French. So, in order to commemorate the 80th anniversary of its publication, we set about preparing a new translation directly from Russian. However, in order to save time, this new translation is based on the existing translations, but we have made a detailed comparison with the Russian original in order to bring it as close as possible to the original. We have also observed the original paragraphs and replaced emphatic italics with bold type, for clarity.
As translations of the Platform into other languages (such as Dutch, Greek and Spanish) have generally been made from the existing English translations, we take this opportunity to suggest that translators revise their work on the basis of this new translation or, if possible, of the Russian original, available on the Archive.
Finally we wish to thank Will Firth and Mikhail Tsovma for their invaluable assistance (and patience!) with this new translation.
The Nestor Makhno Archive